Gunsight Trail follows Gunsight Ridge on the SE flank of Mt. Hood. It’s used in both the Wy’east Wonder and Wy’east Howl trail races. “Gunsight Ridge is fun,” states Renee Janssen of Go Beyond Racing. “I love ridge runs because of the views and this one gives you views north of Hood and south to Jefferson.”
The Gumjuwac trailhead on Highway 35 by the East Fork of the Hood River is the easiest way to access the ridge. Adding the Divide Trail and/or the Badger Creek Trail makes a fun 13-mile or 15-mile lollipop loop using the Badger Creek Wilderness trails.
There are only a couple of parking spots at the trailhead, so it might require hiking from the other side of the river to get to Gumjawac Trail. Gumjuwac is a two-mile climb through a dense forest full of switchbacks to the Gumjawac Saddle, where Mt. Hood comes into view. Follow the trail a little further to a sign explaining the destinations of the five trails at the junction.
Take the Divide Trail for the 13-mile loop, or continue on Gumjuwac to add two miles. Each trail ends at the Badger Creek Trail. The Divide Trail offers a longer view of the Badger Creek Valley before the descent to Badger Lake. The Divide Trail isn’t as well maintained, so expect to climb over some blowdown. The Badger Creek Trail stays above Badger Lake on a ridge. Continue on Badger Creek Trail to Camp Windy Trail. Follow this trail west toward the campground for a mile until it intersects Gunsight Trail.
Mt. Adams will be in view on the climb up to Gunsight Butte. Turn around to get a view of Mt. Jefferson. Over the butte is a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. “The namesake of the trail, the “gunsight” is off the actual trail a 100 yards or so and worth the break to take in the view of Hood,” according to Janssen.
Continue back to Gumjuwac Saddle and take the Gumjuwac Trail back to the trailhead.